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Setting mail quotas

This is the first in a series of admin tips by Domino book author Karen Fishwick, including her latest Exam Cram 2: Lotus Notes and Domino 6 System Administrator.

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of administrator tips by Karen Fishwick, author of many Domino books, including her latest with Tony Aveyard, Exam Cram 2: Lotus Notes and Domino 6 System Administrator. Today's tip is taken in part from this book.

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E-mail has become a mission-critical business tool that most companies use as one of their primary means of communications. Users can receive and save a high volume of e-mail, including their own sent messages, in their mail files. Large mail files can overwhelm a server's disk capacity and reduce the performance of the mail client. Because you generally cannot provide users with unlimited storage space, Domino administrators can set a size limit, or database quota, for each mail file; these limits are called mail quotas. When delivering mail to a user's mail file, the router checks the current size of the mail file against the specified mail quota.

You can set two types of size limits on a user's mail file: a warning threshold and an absolute quota size. Set a warning threshold to provide users with advance notice when their mail files approach the designated mail file quota, so they can reduce the size of their mail files before message flow is interrupted. Set a quota if you intend to establish a policy of interrupting users' mail usage if their mail files exceed a specified size. (Note that you must set a quota before you can set a warning threshold.)

You can configure the router to respond in several ways when a mail file exceeds its quota, each representing a higher level of enforcement. The least restrictive response is to have the router issue automatic notifications to users when their mail files exceed the quota. If users fail to respond to notifications, you can hold pending messages in MAIL.BOX or return messages to the senders as undeliverable until the users reduce the size of their mail files.

Along with the methods the router uses to enforce quotas, the Notes client displays a warning to any user who has exceeded the designated warning threshold or quota whenever the user attempts to send mail.

You can set quota limits and warning thresholds in one of two ways:

  1. During registration
    Quotas specified during registration apply only to new users, not to existing users. You can also set mail quotas before registration by listing the quota information in the Registration Policy document and applying this document during registration.

  2. Per database
    Using the Domino Administrator, you can manually specify the warning threshold and quota of one or more mail files. This method works for any database, including the mail database. Quotas and warning thresholds are set using the Quotas tool in the File Tab of the Administrator client.

Karen Fishwick is an independent consultant, book author and technical editor in Ottawa. She focuses on administrative troubleshooting for servers and resolving access-control problems within applications and holds the CLP designation for R6 in both the system administration and application development tracks.


If you use the lowest enforcement for quotas then you may hit problems if the mail files are on a release 5 Domino cluster -- mailfiles over the quota size don't cluster properly. This is claimed to be fixed in current R6 servers and is claimed to be cured in 5.0.13 (available later this year according to Lotus).

-- Peter T.

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